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Disney revenues climb in Q1; streaming subscribers reach 26.5 million

The Walt Disney Company released its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2020 on Tuesday (Feb. 4), reporting a spike in revenue and a whopping 26.5 million subscribers for ...
February 5, 2020

The Walt Disney Company released its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2020 on Tuesday (Feb. 4), reporting a spike in revenue and a whopping 26.5 million subscribers for subscription streaming service Disney+, which launched just under three months ago.

Revenues, up 36% from the year-ago quarter, landed at US$20.9 billion — up from $19.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations for the quarter dipped to $1.17 from $1.86 in the prior-year quarter.

Media networks revenue jumped 24% from the year-ago quarter to $7.36 billion, with cable networks’ revenue climbing 20% to $4.8 billion and broadcasting rising 34% to $2.6 billion.

The mass media company’s direct-to-consumer and international segment landed at just under $4 billion, with an increase in operating losses from $136 million to $693 million.

Those losses were largely due to the costs associated with the launch of Disney+ — which rolled out in the U.S., Canada and Netherlands on Nov. 12, 2019 — the consolidation of Hulu — which began March 20, 2019 — and losses at ESPN+ resulting from higher programming costs.

ESPN+ paid subscribers for the quarter totaled 6.6 million; Hulu sat at 30.4 million.

“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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